Archive for May, 2021

07
May
21

Police appeal as peregrines believed to have been poisoned again at notorious Shropshire blackspot

Press release from West Mercia Police (6th May 2021)

Appeal following protected bird deaths

On the morning of Saturday 1 May, officers received information that a female peregrine had been found dead on the hillside below the nest near to Clee Hill Quarry.

PC Grant said: “The body was recovered together with a pigeon that had been used as bait. The male bird has not been found, but is also believed to have been killed. The baited pigeon at the scene indicates that poison was used to kill both birds. The incident is currently under investigation by both West Mercia Police and RSPB Investigations.

[This is a photograph of another peregrine found poisoned at this site in 2017 (see here). Photo by RSPB]

Peregrine Falcons are specifically protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, and the maximum penalty for killing or deliberately injuring a protected species is a fine of £5,000 and six months imprisonment.

We are asking members of the public walking on Clee Hill common with children and pets to be aware and to take care that poison bait may still be around and not to touch any dead animals that they may come across if they do see any such animals or anything suspicious, to please call police.  

If anyone has any information regarding this incident please contact the police on 101 and quote incident number 258i of 1 May 2021 or contact us via our ‘Tell us about’ section on our website.”

If you do have information but don’t feel comfortable speaking to police, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers. It is 100% anonymous, they never ask your name and they cannot trace your call or I.P address. You can contact them online or by calling 0800 555 111.

ENDS

There is also an article in the Shropshire Star (here) about this latest poisoning crime at Clee Hill. It’s well worth a read and includes commentary from John Turner, Chair of the Shropshire Peregrine Group, about the use of tethered pigeons smeared with poison to lure the peregrines and how this has happened over and over again at this site (2010, 2011, 2015, 2017, 2021)…

We are shocked that it’s happened again. The deadly poison being used is a danger to people walking their dogs and to animals in the area and somehow we are going to have to inform Defra to get the place decontaminated as it should not be scattered in the countryside like it has been and is contaminating the moorland where these pigeons were found.

On Wednesday evening another poisoned pigeon was found along with a dead fox which had eaten it.

We know who is responsible, and local people know who is responsible. I urge local residents of Clee Hill to call out the individuals responsible for these crimes, many of whom are well known in the area, and provide the police with information about their criminal activities which are bringing shame to the village.”

 “It [the female peregrine] was found by the site warden on Saturday morning. There was the body of a poisoned pigeon very near the dead female peregrine. The male will have been killed as well but we have not recovered the body yet.

We think this is a repeat of what happened four years ago in 2017. We thought we had put a stop to it. We have had at least a dozen peregrines poisoned since 2010 – we have lost about a quarter of the Shropshire population of about 40 peregrines.

ENDS

In previous poisoning offences at Clee Hill the toxin Diazinon has been used. Suspicion has been laid at the door of the local pigeon racing community but nobody has ever been prosecuted.

Previous blogs on these poisoning crimes here, here, here, here

06
May
21

Poisoned golden eagle: confirmation it was found dead on a grouse moor at Invercauld Estate

Earlier today I blogged about how Invercauld Estate Manager Angus McNicol had been quoted in the press saying that the area where the poisoned golden eagle had been found on Invercauld Estate near Crathie was “not managed for driven grouse shooting” (see here).

Shurely shome mishtake?

I’d commented that this seemed an odd claim to make given the amount of strip muirburn (a classic indication of grouse moor management) in the area:

This evening, a comment has been posted on this blog from someone directly involved in the investigation, Ian Thomson from RSPB Scotland:

For anyone struggling to read the small print, it says:

For the avoidance of doubt, the eagle was found poisoned next to a mountain hare bait, in an area of strip muirburn within 200m of a line of grouse butts and a landrover track‘.

That’s that, then.

Thanks, Ian.

06
May
21

Poisoned golden eagle: examining the statement from Invercauld Estate

Further to the news that a poisoned golden eagle was found dead on Invercauld Estate in March 2021 and the subsequent police raid that took place on the estate earlier this week (Tues 4th May – see here), I want to examine a statement that subsequently appeared in the press (e.g. here), attributed to Invercauld Estate Manager, Angus McNicol.

[The poisoned golden eagle, lying dead next to a poisoned mountain hare bait, on heather moorland on Invercauld Estate. Photo by RSPB Scotland]

The statement was interesting because it appeared in the late afternoon just a few hours after the raids had taken place and importantly, prior to ANY media output from the Police, even though the estate’s statement alluded to a ‘police appeal’. What police appeal? It could be argued that this was a damage limitation exercise by Invercauld Estate.

The statement went as follows:

Angus McNicol, estate manager at Invercauld, said: “We have been informed by the police that the bird that was found contained pesticide. We are very disturbed indeed to learn that a bird of prey has been found on Invercauld in these circumstances.

We wholeheartedly support the appeal about this bird and anyone with information should contact Police Scotland on 101 urgently. Naturally we are offering our cooperation to the police as they conduct their inquiries and hope they are able to identify anyone who is involved.

The area where the bird was found is on a let farm in an area which is managed for sheep farming and is on the edge of an area of native woodland regeneration. It is not managed for driven grouse shooting. Within the last two weeks, we have had to call the police to report an incident of damage to gamekeeping equipment and another of anti-social behaviour on a wetland habitat and this more recent report is a further serious concern for us.

Given the relative proximity of the location to houses and the A93 main road, we are hopeful that a member of the public may have seen something which might help the investigation.

Mr McNicol continued: “So much of what we do at Invercauld is about conservation so this news is particularly distressing. Staff and contractors are actively involved in activities that help conserve many species in the Estate’s valleys, woodlands, moorland and montane habitats. We pride ourselves in the biodiversity this creates and this news is therefore especially disheartening.

We are committed to our conservation work on the Estate and would like to see this incident investigated as thoroughly and quickly as possible.”

I want to look closely at Mr McNicol’s claim that the area where the poisoned golden eagle was found “Is not managed for driven grouse shooting“.

The precise location on Invercauld Estate where the poisoned eagle (and the poisoned bait that killed it) has not been revealed, but the RSPB photograph of the poisoned eagle clearly shows heather and Mr McNicol does give away some information about the proximity of houses and the A93 main road and an area of native woodland regeneration.

We also know, from the official police statement published the following day, that the area was ‘near to Crathie’. That narrows it down considerably.

Here are a couple of Google Earth maps showing Crathie and an area of Invercauld Estate to the NE of Crathie (north of the A93 main road) that I understand to be a woodland regeneration area, and then oh, look, right next to that is a vast area of muirburn strips. You know, the tell-tale burned scars of a moorland managed for, er, driven grouse shooting:

Or have I got that wrong? Is this not a vast area managed for driven grouse shooting at all, but just a large area of moorland that is routinely set alight to create so-called ‘wildfire breaks’? I’m sure I saw some lines of grouse butts when I zoomed in, too. Probably historical, kept for nostalgic purposes, eh?

You can draw your own conclusions about the accuracy of Mr McNicol’s claim that ‘the area is not managed for driven grouse shooting‘.

I also just want to comment about something I’ve read on social media about the timing of the publicity surrounding this crime, and how ‘convenient’ it is that it coincides with the Scottish Parliamentary elections. The clear accusation has been made that ‘anti-grouse moor campaigners’ have somehow conspired to get this in the news this week.

This is absolute nonsense, of course. It was the statement from Invercauld Estate that triggered news coverage of this crime – at that time (Tuesday afternoon, the day of the police raids), nobody had said anything about it. Not campaigners, not the police, just Invercauld Estate. Had the estate kept quiet, I would bet that this news wouldn’t have seen the light of day until at least next week, well after the elections. Indeed, I’m told by my media contacts that Police Scotland was forced to issue an official statement the day after Invercauld Estate’s statement, simply because of the media interest generated by Invercauld’s statement. The police received so many enquiries their hand was forced early and they had to issue a statement.

I’ll be writing about Police Scotland’s response to the crime in a forthcoming blog. I’ll also be returning to the claimed conservation credentials of Invercauld Estate.

UPDATE 6th May 2021: Poisoned golden eagle: confirmation it was found dead on a grouse moor on Invercauld Estate (here)

06
May
21

Poisoned golden eagle: statement from Cairngorms National Park Authority

Further to the news that a poisoned golden eagle was found dead on Invercauld Estate in March 2021 (see here), the Cairngorms National Park Authority has issued the following statement in response:

GOLDEN EAGLE DEATH

The Cairngorms National Park Authority has issued the following statement in relation to the death of a Golden Eagle in Deeside.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) have been informed by Police Scotland that a golden eagle was found poisoned on Invercauld Estate within the Cairngorms National Park. The CNPA condemns this senseless and irresponsible behaviour in the strongest possible terms. Raptor persecution has no place in 21st century Scotland and no place in this National Park. We are working closely with Police Scotland, NatureScot and a range of other partners on an appropriate, coordinated response to this incident, and will continue to work in partnership to prevent incidents like this occurring in future. We cannot make any further comment on this specific case due to the ongoing police enquiry.”

This statement is issued on behalf of Xander McDade CNPA Board Convener and CNPA Chief Executive Grant Moir.

ENDS

This statement from the CNPA is an improvement on the pathetic effort it made in response to the poisoned white-tailed eagle, found dead on a grouse moor inside the National Park last year (see here), and it’s good that this time the CNPA hasn’t had to be nudged into providing a response, which is what usually happens, but even so, this is nowhere near a strong enough reaction or statement of intent.

I’ll be returning to this subject shortly, but for now readers might want to familiarise themselves with the Eastern Cairngorms Moorland Partnership (ECMP). One of the stated aims of this ‘partnership’, comprising six contiguous estates and the CNPA, is to ‘enhance raptor and other priority species conservation’. Invercauld Estate is one of the member estates.

Things need to change in the Cairngorms National Park. Current policies and so-called ‘partnerships’ are obviously not working when atrocities like poisoning eagles is still going on.

Below is a list of all the known raptor persecution crimes uncovered in the Cairngorms National Park since it was established (it was formally established in Sept 2003 but I’ve included 2002 for context and an indication that National Park status has had zero influence). As far as I’m aware, nobody has been prosecuted, yet alone convicted, for any of these offences, with the exception of one for the attempted shooting of a hen harrier in 2003.

ILLEGAL RAPTOR PERSECUTION INCIDENTS CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK

2002

Feb: 2 x poisoned buzzards (Carbofuran) + rabbit bait. Tomintoul (No prosecution)

Mar: 2 x poisoned buzzards (Carbofuran) + 2 rabbit baits. Cromdale (No prosecution)

2003

Apr: 3 x poisoned buzzards (Carbofuran) + 2 grey partridge baits. Kingussie (No prosecution)

Jun: Attempted shooting of a hen harrier. Crannoch (Successful prosecution)

2004

May: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). Cuaich (No prosecution)

Nov: 1 x poisoned red kite (Carbofuran). Cromdale (No prosecution)

Dec: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). Cromdale (No prosecution)

2005

Feb: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). Cromdale (No prosecution)

Feb: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). Cromdale (No prosecution)

Mar: 3 x poisoned buzzards, 1 x poisoned raven (Carbofuran). Crathie (No prosecution)

2006

Jan: 1 x poisoned raven (Carbofuran). Dulnain Bridge (No prosecution)

May: 1 x poisoned raven (Mevinphos). Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

May: 1 x poisoned golden eagle (Carbofuran). Morven [corbett] (No prosecution)

May: 1 x poisoned raven + 1 x poisoned common gull (Aldicarb) + egg bait. Glenbuchat (No prosecution)

May: egg bait (Aldicarb). Glenbuchat, Strathdon (No prosecution)

Jun: 1 x poisoned golden eagle (Carbofuran). Glenfeshie (No prosecution)

2007

Jan: 1 x poisoned red kite (Carbofuran). Glenshee (No prosecution)

Apr: Illegally set spring trap. Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

May: Pole trap. Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

May: 1 x poisoned red kite (Carbofuran). Tomintoul (No prosecution)

May: Illegally set spring trap. Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

Jun: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran) + rabbit & hare baits. Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

Jun: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran) + rabbit bait. Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

Jul: 1 x poisoned raven (Carbofuran). Ballater (No prosecution)

Sep: 1 x shot buzzard. Newtonmore (No prosecution)

Sep: 1 x shot buzzard. Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

Dec: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Alphachloralose). Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

Dec: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran) + rabbit bait. Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

2008

Jan: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Alphachloralose). Nr Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

Mar: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). Nr Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

Dec: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Alphachloralose). Nr Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

2009

May: 2 x poisoned ravens (Mevinphos). Delnabo (No prosecution)

Jun: rabbit bait (Mevinphos). nr Tomintoul (No prosecution)

Jun: 1 x shot buzzard. Nr Strathdon (No prosecution)

Jun: 1 x illegal crow trap. Nr Tomintoul (No prosecution)

2010

Apr: Pole trap. Nr Dalwhinnie (No prosecution)

Jun: 1 x pole-trapped goshawk. Nr Dalwhinnie (No prosecution)

Jun: Illegally set spring trap on tree stump. Nr Dalwhinnie (No prosecution)

Sep: 2 x poisoned buzzards (Carbofuran) + rabbit bait. Glenlochy (No prosecution)

Oct: 2 x poisoned buzzards (Carbofuran) + rabbit bait. Nr Boat of Garten (No prosecution)

2011

Jan: 1 x shot buzzard. Nr Bridge of Brown (No prosecution)

Mar: 1 x poisoned golden eagle (Carbofuran). Glenbuchat (No prosecution)

Apr: 1 x poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran & Aldicarb). Nr Bridge of Brown (No prosecution)

May:  1 x poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran) + rabbit bait. Glenbuchat, Strathdon (No prosecution)

May: 1 x shot short-eared owl, found stuffed under rock. Glenbuchat, Strathdon (No prosecution)

Jun: 1 x shot peregrine. Pass of Ballater (No prosecution)

Aug: grouse bait (Aldicarb). Glenlochy (No prosecution)

Sep: Satellite-tagged golden eagle ‘disappears’. Nr Strathdon

Nov: Satellite-tagged golden eagle ‘disappears’. Nr Strathdon

2012

Apr: 1 x shot short-eared owl. Nr Grantown-on-Spey (No prosecution)

Apr: Peregrine nest site burnt out. Glenshee (No prosecution)

May: Buzzard nest shot out. Nr Ballater (No prosecution)

2013

Jan: White-tailed eagle nest tree felled. Invermark (No prosecution)

May: 1 x shot hen harrier. Glen Gairn (No prosecution)

May: Satellite-tagged golden eagle ‘disappears’. Glenbuchat, Strathdon

2014

Apr: Satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle ‘disappears’. Glenbuchat, Strathdon

May: Armed masked men shoot out a goshawk nest. Glen Nochty, Nr Strathdon (No prosecution)

2015

Sep: Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Lad’ found dead, suspected shot. Newtonmore (No prosecution)

2016

May: 1 x shot goshawk. Strathdon (No prosecution)

Jun: Illegally set spring traps. Invercauld (No prosecution)

Aug: Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Brian’ ‘disappears’. Kingussie

2017

Mar: Satellite-tagged golden eagle #338 ‘disappears’. Glenbuchat, Strathdon

Aug: Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Calluna’ ‘disappears’. Ballater

2018

May: Satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle Blue T ‘disappears’. Ballater

Aug: Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Athena’ ‘disappears’. Nr Grantown on Spey

Aug: Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Margot’ ‘disappears’. Nr Strathdon

Sept: Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Stelmaria’ ‘disappears’. Ballater

2019

April: Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Marci’ ‘disappears’. Nr Strathdon

April: Four geese poisoned and Carbofuran bait found on an estate nr Kingussie (no prosecution)

August: Golden eagle photographed with a spring trap dangling from its foot, nr Crathie, Deeside

September: Satellite-tagged hen harrier Wildland 1 ‘disappears’ on a grouse moor nr Dalnaspidal

September: Satellite-tagged hen harrier Wildland 2 ‘disappears’ on a grouse moor at Invercauld

2020

April: Satellite-tagged hen harrier Hoolie ‘disappears’ on grouse moor nr Newtonmore

April: Satellite-tagged hen harrier Marlin ‘disappears’ on grouse moor nr Strathdon

April: Satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle found illegally poisoned on grouse moor in Strathdon.

2021

March: Poisoned golden eagle found on Invercauld Estate.

In addition to the above list, two recent scientific publications have documented the long-term decline of breeding peregrines on grouse moors in the eastern side of the National Park (see here) and the catastrophic decline of breeding hen harriers, also on grouse moors in the eastern side of the Park (see here).

05
May
21

Police statement on poisoned golden eagle found on Invercauld Estate, Cairngorms National Park

Further to yesterday’s news that Police Scotland had conducted a raid, under warrant, on Invercauld Estate following the discovery of a poisoned golden eagle (see here), the police have just issued the following statement:

Officers are continuing enquiries into the poisoning of a bird of prey found dead near to Crathie in Aberdeenshire

On Friday, 19 March, 2021, a Golden Eagle was found dead on a hillside on the Invercauld Estate.

Subsequent forensic examination confirmed the bird had been illegally and intentionally poisoned.

Extensive enquiries are being carried out and on Tuesday, 4 May, 2021, officers acting under warrant, searched a number of properties on the Invercauld Estate. No arrests were made and enquiries are ongoing.

[The poisoned golden eagle found lying in moorland heather next to a poisoned bait on Invercauld Estate. Photo by RSPB Scotland]

Detective Constable Daniel Crilley, wildlife crime unit said: “Poisoning a bird or animal is not only cruel and callous but it can also harm other wildlife. Illegal persecution of raptors will not be tolerated. It is one of the six priorities set by the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit and Raptor Persecution is the current focus of Police Scotland’s year-long campaign, Operation Wingspan.

We are determined to protect these magnificent birds and here in the North East, we work closely with a number of partners, such as the RSPB and NatureScot, to tackle wildlife crime, which can be particularly challenging to investigate.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Gary Cunningham, wildlife crime lead for Police Scotland, said: “Scotland’s rich, rare and diverse wildlife and landscapes are among its biggest attractions. We cannot allow the indiscriminate use of poisons and pesticides to threaten our natural heritage.

Police Scotland, working with our key partners, is committed to protecting our wildlife habitats and to bringing those who seek to destroy or harm it, to justice.”

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations said: “Raptor persecution crimes on grouse moors in this area happen regularly. In 2019, a young eagle was photographed caught in a trap less than two miles from here, and in 2016, a line of illegal traps targeting birds of prey was found set across the hill less than three miles away. The perpetrators of these crimes don’t just threaten wildlife, but put at risk the reputation of the area and the jobs dependent on the associated tourist industry.”

Members of the public are police’s eyes and ears and anyone with information regarding this matter is asked to call Police Scotland via 101, quoting incident number 2757 of 19 March 2021.

ENDS

I will be blogging further about this case and other raptor persecution incidents that have been reported on Invercauld Estate in previous years.

If you are commenting on this blog, please remember this is a live investigation and nobody has been arrested in connection with the poisoning of this eagle, yet alone charged or convicted. Libellous comments will not be published. Thanks.

UPDATE 6th May 2021: Poisoned golden eagle: statement from Cairngorms National Park Authority (here)

04
May
21

Golden eagle found poisoned – police raid Invercauld Estate in Cairngorms National Park

Today Police Scotland raided, under warrant, the Invercauld Estate in the Cairngorms National Park following the discovery of a poisoned golden eagle in March 2021.

[Invercauld Estate boundary. Map produced from data on Andy Wightman’s Who Owns Scotland website]

There are very few verifiable details around at the moment so I’ll probably wait for the police press release before saying much more.

But rest assured, there will be an awful lot more to say about this latest wildlife crime on an estate that has been at the centre of a number of investigations over many, many years.

UPDATE 5th May 2021: Police statement on poisoned golden eagle found on Invercauld Estate, Cairngorms National Park (here)

UPDATE 6th May 2021: Poisoned golden eagle: statement from Cairngorms National Park Authority (here)

UPDATE 6th May 2021: Poisoned golden eagle: examining the statement from Invercauld Estate (here)

UPDATE 6th May 2021: Poisoned golden eagle: confirmation it was found dead on a grouse moor on Invercauld Estate (here)

04
May
21

Grouse-shooting estate under investigation for alleged breach of hen harrier diversionary feeding licence

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how observers had filmed an estate employee, accompanied by a Natural England employee, placing out diversionary food for a nesting pair of hen harriers on a grouse moor in North Yorkshire (see here).

Given that the female harrier was only in the early stages of incubation, the timing of this diversionary feeding looked to be in clear breach of the CL25 licence, a licence issued by Natural England to grouse moor managers to permit diversionary feeding ONLY after the eggs have hatched.

I wrote to Natural England to ask whether any enforcement action would take place and if so, what it would be.

Natural England responded to my enquiry last week, as follows:

I’ve written back to NE and asked when a decision might be expected.

I’ll keep you posted.

04
May
21

Scottish Gamekeepers Association sponsors adverts against Scottish Greens during election campaign

Ahead of the election on Thursday the polls are showing that the Scottish Greens are expected to do well again, which could lead to a further coalition with the SNP if the SNP fails to reach a majority, according to the Scotsman yesterday.

As you’d expect, the Scottish Greens are big on animal welfare, wildlife conservation and tackling driven grouse shooting and wildlife crime. Alison Johnstone MSP had an opinion piece published today in the Edinburgh Evening News and here is an excerpt:

However, nature reserves alone are not enough when so much of Scotland’s uplands are intensively managed so that a few people can shoot wildlife.

And it isn’t just the grouse that are killed. This year I won protection for mountain hares which are killed in huge numbers because landowners think it will boost grouse populations. There is no evidence this works.

And of course, there is the appalling legacy of raptor persecution, which sees birds of prey continue to disappear near these moors, or found killed. It is a stain on Scotland’s reputation.

NatureScot, the agency which is supposed to be protecting Scotland’s nature, is far too quick to hand out licences to kill.

Within a year of beavers being declared a protected species, a fifth of the population was killed under licence. It’s time to address the nature emergency and deliver real protections for Scotland’s native species, before it’s too late.

The Scottish Greens manifesto pledges to review the priorities of NatureScot and other agencies, strengthen licensing, end bloodsports, ban cruel traps like snares and deliver a fully-resourced Wildlife Crime Investigations Unit in Police Scotland’.

For the full article please click here

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) is terrified of the Scottish Greens. We saw this in March when the SGA refused to invite the Greens to its political hustings (see here) and in April when the SGA said, in a moment of hilarious irony, it was going to complain to the Electoral Commission about the Greens’ election campaign material which the SGA claimed was ‘misleading’. My analysis suggested it wasn’t the Greens who were the ones publishing misleading information (see here).

Interestingly, the SGA is now paying for sponsored adverts on social media, targeting the Scottish Greens. You might think, if they are paying to get their material under the noses of people who would otherwise be beyond their reach, the SGA might pay for a decent graphic designer as well as check the facts given in the ad, but apparently not. Here’s one of the dodgy ads doing the rounds on Facebook:

You’ll notice that the accompanying text doesn’t match the text in the ad – one says that 13,000 rural jobs will be lost, the other says 10,000+.

Whether the claim is 13,000 or 10,000 jobs, the number(s) appear to be unsubstantiated. Further, should the SGA chose to actually read the Scottish Greens’ manifesto instead of reverting to immediate hyperbole and hysteria, they’d see that the Greens focus on actually creating jobs in the countryside, promising ‘at least £895M over the next five years in restoring nature whilst investing in rural communities, creating over 6,000 green jobs’. The Greens are also committed to ensuring that the licencing of grouse moors ‘is properly resourced and well enforced’ – how does that equate to rural job losses if grouse moor managers are abiding by the law?

It has been pointed out to me by one blog reader that the SGA may be breaking the rules by actively campaigning against a political party during an election campaign. This sort of behaviour is not permitted by organisations holding charitable status. On its website, the SGA has been at pains to claim that its election material has been put out under its status as a Limited Company, rather than as its Charitable Trust status. I’m told that a complaint has been made to OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator with a request to investigate.

01
May
21

Osprey nest platform cut down with chainsaw as first egg is laid

The nest platform of a pair of breeding ospreys has been cut down overnight by someone with a chainsaw, just a day after the pair had laid their first egg.

A statement from the Brenig Osprey Project in North Wales:

Brenig Osprey Project partners woke up this morning to the worst possible news. Last night 30/4/21 , at 21.42, someone took a chainsaw to the osprey nest and felled it. This is a fast-moving situation and we’ll issue more news of the birds when we can – please, please be kind to staff this weekend as we work out how to respond to this horrific act of vandalism.

For a start – if you have any information that can help us identifying the individuals responsible, please let us know or contact the police with crime reference Z059734.

[Photograph of the felled platform tower]

North Wales Police’s Rural Crime Team are attending and an investigation is underway.

The Brenig Osprey Project is hosted at Llyn Brenig, a North Wales Wildlife Trust nature reserve. In partnership with Welsh Water the project aims to connect locals and visitors with wildlife and has a live camera feed from the osprey nest to the visitor centre and a viewing point where rangers help visitors to watch the ospreys through telescopes and binoculars.

[Webcam footage from the Brenig nest during a previous breeding season]

If you have ANY information about this disgraceful criminal act, no matter how insignificant you might think it is, please contact North Wales Police on 101.

UPDATE 14.15hrs: North Wales Police Rural Crime Team has just tweeted this:




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